SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Union College men’s hockey team saw their season come to close in the first round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs, falling 6-4 to Princeton University Saturday night at Messa Rink.
Sophomore Josh Nixon led the way for Union with two goals, while classmate Caden Villegas (1-1-2) and junior Tyler Watkins (0-2-2) also recorded two points on the night. Junior Ville Immonen registered his third goal of the season, short-handed, in the second period.
The Tigers struck first, potting two goals in a span of 2:21 to take a 2-0 lead. David Ma corralled the puck behind the net to find a wide-open Ian Murphy in the slot who one-timed the puck past senior Connor Murphy at 9:40 of the opening frame. Jack Cronin capitalized on a Union miscue in front a few minutes later. Nixon put Union on the board with 53 seconds left in the opening period after first-year Nick Young forced a turnover in the defensive end and chipped it ahead to Villegas. The Plano, Texas native dropped the puck back on a no-look behind-the-back pass to Nixon who ultimately buried it past Princeton netminder Aiden Porter.
Princeton added two more goals in a span of 41 seconds to take a 4-1 lead in the second period. Pito Walton picked a corner from low in the slot at 5:12 of the middle stanza and Ian Murphy scored his second of the night with a shot from the end line. Villegas cut the lead to two with a power-play tally at 9:28 of the frame. Watkins sent a cross-ice pass to Villegas in the left-wing circle and the sophomore fired it home. Union added a second goal in the frame when Immonen found the back of the net, short-handed. Watkins collected a misplayed puck behind the net and backhanded a pass to Immonen in the left-wing circle, who went bar down for the score.
Union knotted the game at four apiece at 8:56 of the final period. After Princeton was called for hooking, Union capitalized on the powerplay. Senior Chris Theodore found Nixon wide open in the slot and the sophomore one-timed it past Porter. Princeton found new life in the final few minutes with Spencer Kersten potting two goals to send the Tigers on to the quarterfinals.
Murphy made 21 saves in his final collegiate game while Porter stopped 31 shots.
Union went 2-for-4 on the powerplay and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.